MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 141
' There is no need for that — I can wake you at the right time.'
The next day at early dawn, Michel awoke me.
'I am ready, Michel,' said I, coming to the window.
' Wait, wait! let me open it very gently. If Pritchard suspects that he is watched, he won't stir; you have no idea how deceitful he is.'
Michel opened the window with every possible precaution. From where I stood, I could distinctly see the poultry-yard, and Pritchard lying in his couch, his head innocently resting upon his two fore-paws. At the slight noise which Michel made in opening the window, Pritchard pricked up his ears and half opened his yellow eye, but as the sound was not repeated he did not move. Ten minutes afterwards we heard the newly wakened hens begin to cluck. Pritchard immediately opened both eyes, stretched himself and stood upright upon his three feet. He then cast a glance all round him, and seeing that all was quiet, disappeared into a shed, and the next moment we saw him coming out of a sort of little window on the other side. From this window Pritchard easily got upon the sloping roof which overhung one side of the poultry-yard. He had now only to jump down about six feet, and having got into the inclosure he lay down flat in front of the hen-house, giving a little friendly bark. A hen looked out at Pritchard's call, and instead of seeming frightened she went to him at once and received his compliments with apparent complacency. Nor did she seem at all embarrassed, but proceeded to lay her egg, and that within such easy reach of Pritchard that we had not time to see the egg — it was swallowed the same instant. She then retired cackling triumphantly, and her place was taken by another hen.
' Well, now, sir,' said Michel, when Pritchard had swallowed his fourth egg, 'you see it is no wonder that Pritchard has such a clear voice. You know great singers always eat raw eggs the first thing in the morning.'